Someone recently asked the question I always forget to answer. It’s the one thing that just about everyone wants to know… and still, I forget about it.
The reason I forget about it is actually almost part of the answer, but now I’m getting ahead of myself.
So here it is:
Is “coordination” a pre-req for Shiva Nata?
The short answer is: “Oh dear God, no!”
But it’s the longer answer that’s more interesting.
Actually, the less coordinated you are the better.
Here’s the thing you have to understand about Shiva Nata.
We’re training your brain to be faster, better and more powerful. More capable of quickly making and accessing new neural connections.
But we’re doing that by intentionally practicing the parts that are too hard for us. We’re challenging our coordination, not using it.
More than that, though …
We’re trying to mess it up. We’re trying to get it wrong. No, more wrong!
You’re only doing it right when you’re doing it wrong.
So if you’re really coordinated? It’s going to be more work for you to make sure you’re getting challenged. It will still kick your ass, don’t get me wrong. You’ll just have to work a little harder.
And if you’re not so coordinated — or not at all — that’s good news.
Because you won’t have to work as hard. You’ll already be lost from the get-go, which is what you want. I mean, that’s the whole point.
So yes. Lack of coordination is a huge advantage in Dance of Shiva.
Now here’s the irony.
Unfortunately for you (hahahahaha), the more you do Dance of Shiva, the more coordinated you will become. Which means you’ll have to work harder.
It may, in fact, turn you into a ninja. Or something. For example, my teacher. I have never, ever seen him drop anything. If something falls he catches it. He’s just that fast.
So your days of being completely uncoordinated are sadly numbered.
On the other hand, Shiva Nata only gets harder and harder. And each new level is crazier and crazier. So as your brain evolves and your body catches up, there’s still work to do.
You’re still going to be bad at it. And feel completely uncoordinated, incompetent and generally befuddled. Which is a good thing! Confused yet?
The reason I always forget about this question.
I guess I’ve just been doing this for too long.
The idea — however revolutionary it may be — that I’m trying to do everything wrong in this practice, that I’m trying to be bad at it… it’s already ingrained in my system.
It’s a part of me.
It’s just so obvious to me (from years of practice) that of course you actually want to be uncoordinated. And on the other hand, that you will constantly be getting more coordinated…
Oh the paradox. Oh the conundrum. Oh the frustration, madness and joy that is the Dance of Shiva.
So I forget to reassure people. Let me reassure you now.
If you are hopelessly uncoordinated, revel in it! Because you’re going to be getting your hot buttered epiphanies faster and with less effort.
Though yeah, if you keep at it, it won’t be long until you won’t get to call yourself “uncoordinated” any more.
And if you’re a dancer or a choreographer or have done a ton of martial arts, come to one of my workshops or use the DVD in the Starter Kit. And you’ll also get to feel like an uncoordinated, flailing mess like the rest of us. :)
We’ll just have to work a little harder.
The hardest class I ever taught was a group of professional dancers and choreographers in Berlin. They were all from Argentina and Spain. I taught in a mixture of English and German… and they could do pretty much anything I threw at them.
Yeah, I got them — finally — to the point where they were utterly and completely lost confused and overwhelmed (which is, after all, the goal).
But man, it was so so so hard. And I was sore for a week afterwards!
Moral of the story?
You don’t need to be coordinated.
You don’t need to be graceful.
You don’t need any experience with dance or movement. Because all these things that seem and feel to you right now like a lack or a hindrance are actually going to be the key to your success.
The oven door, if you will, to those hot buttered epiphanies.
Where you are right now — wherever that is — is a good thing. I promise.